The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Letter from a prisoner

Dec 3, 2001

The following is part of a letter we received from a prisoner at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Indiana:

“The department of correction gets $28,000 to $30,000 per year to warehouse prisoners. This figure is about $76.70 per day per prisoner. This money supposedly covers the use of the law library, education, recreation, meals etc. Once the department of correction gets the money in its budget, they use an artifice of tricks to deceive the public that the prisoners did something to be placed on lock-down status. Once they place the prison on lock-down status, the above activities are suspended. The prisoners are locked in their assigned cells 24 hours a day and not allowed to participate in anything. So the allotted money is not used on the prisoners. The only allotted money used is for the meals, which is about $6 or $7 per day, if that much. What happened to the taxpayers other $70?

“I’ve been on lock-down status now for two months. And I don’t have any idea when we will be off it, nor do I know why we are on lock-down status. For example, I have been on lock-down status for 50 days, everything has been suspended – everything. So the IDOC has only been using about $6 of that money per day on me. Leaving over $70 left. 60 days times $70 = $4200. There are 176 prisoners in this cell house. There is another cell house with another 176 prisoners on lock-down, which brings the total up to $24,640 per day. This doesn’t count the similar amount of prisoners on the SHU and the D-segregation.

“This has happened every year since I have been here. The public is not aware of this. We stay on lock-down sometimes for five to six months at a time, at least once a year and for about 30 days at a time during the rest of the year. Two other units stay on lock-down status about seven months out of every year, which is about 49 million dollar a year saved on two cell houses alone. What happened to the rest of the allotted money? This probably goes on in other states.”

The writer asked that all prisoners’ family and taxpayers call Ms. E. Ridley-Turner, Commissioner, IDOC at (317) 232-5715, or write her at E334 Indiana Government Center South, 302 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana or Superintendent Craig Hanks, at P.O. Box 1111, W.V.C.F., Carlisle, Indiana,47838 to protest this lock down.